Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Beautiful Jayce & a Massage

Our last full day in Can Tho, Trinh offered to watch Jayce so Sean and I could get massages. Hieu would watch Terryn for us. While Jayce was with Trinh I guess he had a blow out. I forgot to leave extra clothes with her so she dressed him up in some of Christina's old clothes. That meant a dress. Hahahaha. This picture's a little blurry, but Jayce makes a pretty cute girl.
The massages we got were okay. The place was under staffed because it was still Tet week. Our massages were just mediocre and were only about 20 minutes. To be honest, I was a little uncomfortable. I'm super modest and getting a massage where you're naked underneath the towel is a bit weird for me. The thing that made me uncomfortable though was the lady didn't seem to care about the towel so much. I was bare bummed for a bit of the massage and I had to keep pulling the towel up.

Later I thought about how Sean's massage was going and wondering if this place was one of the dodgy ones we've been warned about. After we left and were on our way to get Terryn, Sean gave me this look and laughed. He said, the lady in there asked me if I wanted her to massage my 'baby'. At first he was like "Huh? My baby?" and then she patted him in a very personal area. Whoa! He said, "No," obviously, but then he said after that he was in a hurry to get out of there. Hahahahaha.

When we went to go get Terryn, I guess he had peed his pants. Dude. What was up with my kids that day? So when we showed up Terryn was naked from the waist down, sitting in a chair and playing a game on Hieu's iPad.

The Boat Ride and Floating Market

Friday morning we went out on a boat in the river. We rode for awhile and made our way towards the floating market.
It ended up being just our small group, the driver and his family. It was cool to basically have the boat to ourselves.
Terryn of course LOVED the boat.
We just showed up by the river and Hieu went out to negotiate the price. It ended up being about $15 for us all to rent the boat for a couple hours. Nice deal right?! We figured if it was just Hieu that we'd get a better price than if us Americans tried to haggle the price. We always get what we fondly call the "White Man Tax". We always pay more for everything.
While on the river we saw people fishing.
I love this picture. It so perfectly illustrates the grand mixture that is Vietnam. The ghetto mixed with the luxurious. There's not much separation among ramshackle buildings and super nice villas.
We decided Jayce needed a hat too. Though I don't think he liked it much.
Terryn wanted to sit by Christina. He kept walking around the front of the boat. I was afraid something was going to end up in the water, but it didn't.
We passed a few floating petrol stations. They were kinda cool.
Here's a boat full of pumpkins and pineapple.

Here's where we started coming into the floating market. It was getting later in the morning and it was still Tet, so I have a feeling it wasn't as busy as it would normally be. There were lots of tourist boats and a few boats selling different things. Above you can see a boat full of pineapple.
Here's a boat full of watermelon.
We stopped at a floating cafe. You could eat breakfast here, drinks or buy a random assortment of fruit. Here's Terryn and Christina by the scales and jum jums.
We ended up buying some jum jums and a pomelo.
On the way back, the driver let Hieu drive for a bit... or maybe it was Christina.
We rather enjoyed the boat ride. I know when we went to Nha Trang it was Sean's favorite part of our trip. It was nice to be out in the water away from the crowds. It was also a beautiful day.

Can Tho Amusement

The first full day we were in Can Tho, Hieu and Trinh took us to an amusement park. This park was quite large. It had rides, many restaurants, a swimming pool, pig and dog races and who knows what else. 
Hieu managed to get a picture with our whole family in it (plus Christina).
Christina and Terryn had fun posing on the different animal sculptures they had all over.
And of course, no matter where we were, Terryn and Jayce got lots of attention. At one point Terryn was quick to run off. It literally must have been a few seconds and then we couldn't find him. We were freaking out. Luckily we found him pretty quickly. Actually I found him. By the ice cream stand. Figures...
Terryn kept wanting to climb up on the different statues. He trudged through a mud puddle to get on this one, which of course we were excited about. I did have to take a picture of him though... next to the flute player... who's holding the flute wrong. Hahahahaha.
And then there was Jayce. He loved looking around at everyone. He's so good.
Sean took Terryn to go get his hand munched by the dragon. Sean figured out that most of the statues, in one particular area, stood for the different years.
At one point poor Hieu was carrying both Christina and Terryn. Terryn is a heavy kid so I can't imagine this was very comfortable. Hahahaha... But I love the picture.
Then we headed for the pig races. We got there early and took a break. It soon got crowded however and we were constantly pushing our way to the front so we could see. We took guesses as to which pig would win. None of us guessed right.
I think number four won. We guessed 1, 2, 3 or 6. I think #5 came in second so we were REALLY bad guessers.
You can see Trinh's hand pointing to the winner.

After the pig races we watched some monkeys perform. They were pretty good, but I have a hard time watching shows like that because I feel like the animals are mistreated. I feel sorry for them. Then we started getting hungry and I was getting really hot, so we left. I think we went and ate Bun Bo Hue. It's like a Beef Pho, but spicier and with fatter noodles. It took us forever to find some place that was open. Since it's still Tet week a lot of places are closed. After lunch I think we went back to the hotel and took naps. We were so tired. For dinner Hieu took us to this place to have Vietnamese chicken and broken rice. It was SO good.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Terryn and Christina

Terryn was very excited to see Christina. Christina and her family stay with us sometimes on the weekend so they don't have to take a 3 hour bus trip on Sundays to get to church. They love to play together.
When they saw each other it was all giggles and chasing each other around. It's so cute. They play really well together even though they don't speak the same language.
I think they could care less about that though. They still manage to communicate. At one point Christina's Mommy, Trinh, let Terryn wear this cute, red hat. So then they ran around posing in their hats.
It was pretty darn adorable. That Christina is such a girl too. Look how she poses in the pictures.

Traveling to Can Tho

For Tet holiday this year we decided to go visit some friends in Can Tho. It's a city located in the Mekong Delta. Sean decided to drive us there. I have to admit I was a bit nervous because if we got lost we'd be in big trouble. We'd have no idea where we were and probably no one to ask directions.
The drive went rather smoothly though. We passed lots of beautiful scenery. There were lush rice fields that were so green. We also saw shrimp fields, cattle fields, rivers and the Vietnam normal city/village chaos.
In some of the fields you'd see burial plot right in the middle. It was kinda random.
We passed through one city near My Tho that had TONS of antennas. In the picture you can see a bunch of them through the maze of telephone wires.
Since we crossed over lots of rivers, that meant we crossed many bridges. And I mean MANY bridges. In fact one of the more memorable parts of our journey to Can Tho was when Sean took one small bridge WAY too fast and Jayce's car seat got pulled down so he was practically standing. That freaked me out. I nagged on Sean for going too fast as I fixed the car seat. Poor little Jayce.
There were two bridges in particular as we neared our destination that were HUGE suspension bridges.
I thought they were quite beautiful.
It's not uncommon for the motorbikes to stop on the bridge and take pictures or just enjoy the view.
These pictures I took would have been so much better had they not been taken through the dirty front windshield of the car. You can imagine what they would like if they didn't have the dust and smudgy streak marks from Sean trying to clean it off with the wipers.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Who's Bob?

Jayce has been wanting to talk lately. It's so cute to see his eyes intently looking at you and trying so hard to mouth the words you are saying. Of course I always try to get him to say "Mama." And guess what? He TOTALLY said it yesterday! But most of the time he just says "Bob". So uh... who's Bob?

Toe Art

One thing that I LOVE about living here is how cheap it is to get things like pedicures and massages. Though I don't get massages very often because I wouldn't know what to do with Jayce, I do get pedicures about once a month. I think they are fun!
At the place I go to they will put a little design on your toes if you want them too also. So this week, in honor of Tet, I got a really conspicuous design. The colors red and yellow are auspicious colors.
I'll have to have Chelsey send me the picture of our Christmas design. We got snowflakes and poinsettias. It was really fun.

Don't Carpe Diem

I read this wonderful article the other day. It was called Don't Carpe Diem. In times where I feel guilty or disappointed in my "Mommy" abilities, it's nice to know I'm not alone. I've never felt that I was a "natural" when it comes to being a mother. Don't get me wrong, I love my children, but being a Mom is so.... HARD sometimes.

I know there are women out there who just love being a mom. They seem to always be happy and find the coolest and most creative things to do with their kids. I don't want to say I hate these people, but I am SO not that way. I wish I was more that way, but I'm not. And because I'm not I often think I'm a horrible parent. I try to teach my children to be good people. I try to teach them things about the world, to take an interest in nature etc. I try teaching them about their "ABCs" or "Numbers", but I get so frustrated sometimes that it's so hard and oftentimes not very enjoyable.

This article allowed me to forgive myself. I can take things a day at a time and say to myself, "You did okay today. Tomorrow's another day." When the day is over I can enjoy the cuddles and kisses I get from Terryn as he tells me goodnight and says, "I love you." I can relish in the quiet moments where it's just me and Jayce laying on the bed and he's trying so hard to mouth the word, "Mama." (Which he totally said today!)

I don't have to be the perfect parent because I never will be. It's okay to be irritated when it seems like all heck is breaking loose. You know... one catastrophe after another because I know I will deal with it and move on. When I see that I have children that are basically well-behaved and are loving and caring... I guess I'm not doing such a bad job right?

I liked what the writer said in the article. When a women said to her that she "enjoyed every single moment of being a parent", the writer wrote this- "What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, 'Are you sure? Are you sure you don't mean you love having parented?'"

So to you Glennon Melton, thank you for writing that article. Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone when I feel like I just want to give up sometimes because I don't enjoy every single moment of being a parent. I do however absolutely love my children. And I too, so far, enjoy having parented.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tet 2012

Well it's Tet again. The year 2012 is the year of the dragon and I LOVE dragons. It's so cool to see dragons designs everywhere. Last year we went into downtown to see all the decorations on the first night of Tet and it was PACKED. This year we decided to go the day before. It was still really crowded, but it was manageable this year. We ditched the stroller this year too. Instead we had Terryn wear the Panda leash and put Jayce in the backpack carrier. 
I told Sean that I was determined to take a bunch of pictures. I wanted some during the day and some at night so we got into downtown around 5:00 and started wandering around.
There were flowers everywhere and LOTS of yellows and pinks. It was so vibrant and beautiful.
The People's Committee Building Plaza was packed full of flowers. There were tons of people taking pictures too.
I should have had someone take a picture of all of us together, but when the city is so crowded I don't trust anybody with it. I did however offer to take group shots of other people. I think they look at my nice camera and are assured that I won't take their little point and shoot.

Most of the buildings around the city have some sore of Tet decorations, but the building around Nguyen Hue street really go all out. This is the street that they close off during the holiday and it becomes a pedestrian only zone.
 For the most part Terryn was pretty good, but it was like pulling teeth to get him to look at the camera.
 He was pretty tired too and always wanted someone to hold him. Most of the time that meant Sean.
Luckily I did mange to get a few of him sort of looking at the camera.
I think Jayce was enjoying his time in the carrier. He liked to suck on the shoulder strap and look around at everything.
There were tons of decorations, but sadly they weren't as good at last year's Tet stuff.
At one point Terryn sat down by this fountain and started playing with the strap. I think it makes him look like he has a mustache and goatee. You can see the security guard laughing at him in the background.

There was one part of the street that had tons of orchids. Since I love orchids, naturally I had to take a picture.
The decoration at the very end of the street was this giant bamboo dragon.
At this point Terryn was getting a little whiny and we figured he was hungry.
We stopped and sat down on the sidewalk and ate our sandwiches. Right before we were done with our food, the lights came on for everything. Talk about great timing. That way we got half of the stuff during daylight and the other half during the night time with all the lights! Yea! That was exactly what I wanted.
Right as we were finishing eating our food, I look up to see this HUGE group of people just staring at us. Really they were staring at Jayce and Terryn. Some people were taking pictures, but I look over at Sean and say, "Well this is more than a little uncomfortable." After they finally left we joked that I should have started taking pictures of them because it's equally ridiculous. Then I thought.... hmmm... I should totally do that! Once we started walking again, I hung back a little bit and took pictures of the people who reach out to touch Jayce. There were way more people who did this than those I took pictures of, but it gives you an idea of what we constantly have to deal with.
People will stare at the kids, touch them, point at them. Oftentimes Sean finds himself getting shaken around by people wiggling Jayce's foot or whatever. He's constantly being nudged back and forth. Sometimes a person will sort of attach themselves to Jayce and will follow you around a short distance. It's so weird. Most of the time I will put myself between Jayce and the person who's getting a little too personal with my child. It's really a cultural thing, but it gets overwhelming sometimes.
I don't really think Jayce minds the attention though. I mean... he is pretty cute.
There was one side street that had things for littler kids to do. They could dress up as a dragon dancer or beat on the big drum. We tried to get Terryn to try it, but he was too scared.
Dong Khoi street always has the prettiest lights that hang over the street. It takes them months to put them up, but I think they are gorgeous.
I love this picture of Sean walking next to Terryn holding hands. Aren't they adorable?

On the way back to the car Terryn kept trying to balance himself while walking on the curb. It was cute.
We were getting pretty tired and were done with walking around in the crowd.

You can actually see Terryn running towards me in this last picture. This is the view looking down Le Loi street that they also closed off to traffic. All in all we spend about 2 hours walking around. I'm glad we did it so we could take pictures. We did it and now we're done. Now I don't have to worry about missing it like we did the little carnival near our house. Now we can relax for the next couple days of Tet and do whatever we want.

Chuc Mung Nam Moi! (Happy New Year!)